Guilford-poster-smrSpecial Guest Sh. Bapak Waleed

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 7pm

Last night, hearts and souls came together for a beautiful evening of giving thanks, making remembrance, and healing at the First Congregational Church of Guilford, CT. Reverend Kendirck Norris and his congregation invited Shaykh Bapak Waleed to share with them the richness and grace of the mystical Naqshbandi Sufi Way. On Wednesday evenings during Lent, Reverend Norris and his parishioners gather together for a community meal and a discourse on topics in spirituality. This year they have put together a program to explore “mystical traditions from a variety of religious and spiritual backgrounds”. They invited Sh. Bapak Waleed to speak and share at the opening session.

The First Congregational Church is a renowned, historic church over 300 years old and located on the Green in Guilford, a quaint seaside community in Connecticut. Sh. Waleed and his guests were invited to join the church members in their community dinner which featured delicious Turkish food, an appropriate choice. During dinner many people gathered around to learn of Sh. Waleed’s life’s journey to seek spiritual masters all over the world and learn from them. They were delighted by his stories of staying in Konya, Turkey, the home of the great saint and poet Rumi, of navigating the cities and countryside of Indonesia where he travels extensively to learn and promote their traditional ways, and of establishing centers of wellness, spirituality, and healing here in the United States and abroad.

After dinner, everyone proceeded to the chapel which was lit with candles and soft lighting while being transported by the sounds of ancient Sufi music. Reverend Norris gave a few introductory remarks and thanked Sh. Waleed for coming and sharing. Then, special guest Dr. Ali Shakibai, a well known and passionate speaker on spirituality, shared a few lines of wisdom from Rumi. He offered a recitation in the original language, Farsi, and gave additional explanation and insight into the beauty and light behind the words. The lights were then lowered and the zikr, or mystical chanting, of the Most Distinguished Naqshbandi Sufi Order was begun. On the stage, Sh. Waleed sat on the floor in deep meditation as the sounds of the chanting filled the church. At the prescribed intervals, Sh. Waleed rose and performed the whirling movements of these ancient customs. His hands and posture changed throughout the movements corresponding to different aspects of the remembrance and healing. Everyone’s souls were touched and lifted; a feeling of peace was palpable in the hall.

The chanting concluded and Sh. Waleed addressed all who were present, offering his gratitude, his wishes and prayers of healing, and asking for forgiveness for himself and everyone. The lights came up and Reverend Norris again expressed his gratitude to Sh. Waleed and Dr. Shakibai and invited everyone to share, express, and connect. Many people gathered around Sh. Waleed to express their gratitude, to learn more about mysticism and spirituality, and ask for their own healing. Beautiful connections were made, and many old faces were seen from previous whirling events as well. People remained for quite a while, sharing with one another and even perusing the books and CDs Sh. Waleed and Dr. Shakibai had brought. Everyone was so touched and grateful for all the blessings of the evening. They expressed desire to connect with Sh. Waleed again.

Many commented on the universality of the heart-to-heart connections felt and cultivated through the evening —

“what a extraordinary, deep and moving experience last evening”
“I am fully at peace with myself, and that’s not how I was before. I must enjoy this.”
“love and blessings to you and that man of such grace, Shaykh Waleed”
“you can feel the real healing in the air, the kind that comes from inside”
“Thanks… for another interesting and peaceful presentation and meditation.”

Please enjoy the photos below and to learn more about similar upcoming events or to simply reach out and connect, email us Also Read the review of the previous events in this series.

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